One of the best places in the world for water sports, Cuba is an island paradise blessed with calm, clear water and spectacular scenery, both above and beneath the sea. Strategically located at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, the archipelago is caressed by the warm Caribbean Sea on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the north, giving it great biological richness and a breathtaking diversity of marine species. The insular shelf boasts 3,400 km of coral reefs – among the largest, richest and best preserved in the world – with large coral formations that protect the area from strong sea currents. Here you will discover 1,000 species of fish and 1,100 species of crustaceans, along with 58 different kinds of coral, 160 varieties of sponges and 68 types of gorgonians. There are also many species of sea turtles, sharks and rays, as well as bottle-nosed dolphins and endangered manatees. Scuba divers can navigate the complex seabed, with its profusion of caves, tunnels, cliffs and shipwrecks, at prime spots off the coast of Varadero or Jardines del Rey to the north, Santiago de Cuba to the south, or the westernmost tip of Pinar del Río.